On a recent trip to Oakdale, my hometown, I observed something troubling to me, a scene that is apparently visible to all who drive through our ‘fair city’ on either Highway 120 or Highway 108. It is something that has been discussed before by the police and the city council but the decision was to leave the matter alone and so the problem still festers.
The matter to which I refer is public drinking in city parks. For those driving through Oakdale, the sight of bedraggled citizens, formerly called vagrants, sitting in Wood Park and drinking must make them think they are in an area of urban blight – certainly not Oakdale!
On making some inquiries, I learned that a recent clean-up of Wood Park resulted in 36 bags of refuse being collected. With city revenues down, how can the public afford to keep such an area clean?
Alcohol in the city parks may seem to be a right to some but a quick review of alcohol and its effects seem to preclude it from an area where families and children picnic and romp. Authorities such as surgeon generals and the World Health Organization have named alcohol as the #1 drug problem. Alcohol, properly named, Ethyl Alcohol, is a near cousin of the anesthetic ether and in a similar fashion to Ether, puts the brain to sleep. With the brain not functioning properly is it any wonder that disorderly conduct, violence and crime proliferate wherever alcohol is found?
I appeal to the Oakdale City Council to once again take up the subject of alcohol consumption in Oakdale’s city parks and make those family areas off limits to alcohol.
Paul B. Scott